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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Body conditioning is of course also very useful in a street fight situation but more in a limited way than one may think. I believe we must condition hard but with the right mental perspective to bypass the ambush of the primal brain.

We have discussed before that in a street fight your face will be hit as an 'optimal KO target' and we really cannot condition our face. So we remain rooted at our peril, even as we are confident in our blocks for the face.

I have one particular student who is a middle weight boxer on the side. The speed, power and oncoming lines of force and direction of punches most of us have never dealt with are really sobering.

Then there is an other type of conditioning: it is called _operant conditioning_

Why is it important to consider?

I am sure that Bill can explain this in detail…but suffice to say that if we train to constantly take and tolerate body hits so that we, in a street fight, can endure pain and continue to fight on…then we will subconsciously expose our body parts to street violence rather than 'not be there' when blows begin to rain.

And by blows I also mean the ones that will rain by impact weapons and or edged weapons that may or may not be visible in the hands of the assailants.

We may think now that we would 'choose' not to be there when those types of blows are about to land, if at all detected before hand, but chances are our pre-conditioned primal brain will not dictate evasive footwork…

…by virtue of operant conditioning…your primal brain will have you rooted in place unconcerned of the blows about to land because of your 'operant conditioning' in the ability to take a good body shot…

Another way to explain operant conditioning is to think of 'muscle memory'

In Muscle memory … our bodies are able to program actions and then perform these same actions without thought; the mind and body are united in a “flow-state.” Just like learning to swim or ride a bicycle, once we learn we do not forget, and the body, especially when under extreme stress, will resort to those actions on 'auto pilot' …

The more physical the repetitions, and the more realistic the training…the more 'embedding' you will experience.

When your body and mind are under stress, subsequent actions will revert to the most conditioned response. This is something the best instructors are fully aware of and bring to the attention of the students and model their training accordingly.

> In moments of stressful conflict the strongest habit will win out usually overriding all others. In tenths of a second, the mental and physical messages in a person’s mind, body, and spirit follow the nervous system’s pathways that are most developed.<

As a competitive rower and soccer player, this type of 'operant conditioning' was used by the coaches to teach us how to learn to perform best under the, at times, debilitating emotions of 'the field'.

Do we do body conditioning in my classes? Yes...and heavily at times…but I am careful in segmenting it into perspective by compensating and also by mainly telling my students to 'condition' body parts with thoughts of using them as weapons more in the give than in the take.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:12 am 
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Van. They are both insightful and thought-provoking.

Van Canna wrote:

We have discussed before that in a street fight your face will be hit as an 'optimal KO target' and we really cannot condition our face. So we remain rooted at our peril, even as we are confident in our blocks for the face.

Very true.

I've been hit in the face very hard a number of times, and without the benefit of pads or gloves from my training partners. My sparring days started before Jhoon Rhee and his Safe-T-Chop cash cow. I don't knock out easily (apparently) which is a good thing. But what comes to mind is that "WTF" sense you get when struck - particularly in the jaw. If you're facing a determined opponent, they won't stop at the first blow. So you dig a deeper and deeper hole for yourself, until you're six feet under. Only after years of training did my hands begin to act "without my permission" in response. Instead of OODA, it's OA (going from Observe, Orient, Decide, Act to Observe, Act). Yes... that's years of operant conditioning finally kicking in. It's both amazing and scary when you first feel it happen.

Van Canna wrote:

And by blows I also mean the ones that will rain by impact weapons and or edged weapons that may or may not be visible in the hands of the assailants.

We may think now that we would 'choose' not to be there when those types of blows are about to land, if at all detected before hand, but chances are our pre-conditioned primal brain will not dictate evasive footwork…

Let's not forget bullets.

Van Canna wrote:

Do we do body conditioning in my classes? Yes...and heavily at times…but I am careful in segmenting it into perspective by compensating and also by mainly telling my students to 'condition' body parts with thoughts of using them as weapons more in the give than in the take.

Another item which is a growing consensus opinion in the group here. Very well stated!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:59 am 
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Okinawa 27th May 1981, Sanchin-Kitae by Okuhama Shinamtsu & Yonamine Kosuke; Jintai-Kitae -- 沖縄・1981年5月27日 、三戦(サンチン)鍛え、奥浜 真松、与那嶺 幸助、人体鍛え

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lStFWLhHlOc

YouTube, the Gift that keeps on Giving.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Thanks for the video, Victor!

Several comments on it...

The Sanchin kitae done in it by Yonamine sensei isn't all that big of a deal. To start with, his hits - particularly the roundhouse kicks - have no "time on target." There's a lot of show, but really not that much in terms of force delivered to the Sanchin practitioner. Often when I've done demonstrations like this (on the receiving end), you can see red marks on the skin where hits are made. There really aren't any here. It's just a good show of Sanchin mushin.

I'd like to say it's a great Sanchin, but I think the display is a little short of ideal. There are some posture issues here - specifically a bit of hunching over at times. Sometimes a practitioner will do this when being tested. When I see it, I stop the testing and correct the posture. Otherwise you're just programming bad form. I sense that the practitioner hasn't been doing Uechi long enough to be well-rooted and use his core. As such, the "test" is a bit of a distraction. My teacher eyes are a lot more focused on the kata itself. Understand that I'm being very nit-picky here. He's still a fine practitioner. But it's not quite up to the standards of Mark's well-rooted Sanchin display in another thread.

And finally... the last half of the video validates what I see as a much better venue for body conditioning. There you have two practitioners in a give-and-take exchange, working on various parts of body conditioning. Psychologically this makes a lot more sense. This in my opinion is where the bulk of conditioning should be happening, and not in Sanchin by a teacher. Additionally... the posture and use-of-core issues go away in that partner exercise. Hmm... ;)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:44 am 
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Is it common practice in Uechi to block kicks with the arm (fully unsupported even!) like at 4:15 on? That's a guaranteed reciped for a broken arm AND nine punches in the face. I mean, the throwing your arm down to block a kick at the waist... I'm horrified by that! If you're truly determined to break something rather than properly defending yourself, breaking your ribs would be better than breaking both your arm and your jaw.

Someone please tell me I'm reading this all wrong, I know there has to be a different explanation.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:10 am 
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Yes..You are reading it all wrong....

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:18 am 
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Well?

I mean I get conditioning the arms, it's not dissimilar to what we do in boxing. What I don't get is conditioning to drop the arm to get yourself killed. 8)

I'm seriously inquiring, please explain Steve B. I'm not mocking this practice yet!

Edit: I accidentally autocorrected a misspelling of "dissimilar" in to "unfamiliar". I guess that still works...


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:36 pm 
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TSDguy

Here we have a film clip of a good teacher and practitioner (Yonamine Sensei) doing a demo and putting himself out there for all to critique. I often say I hesitate to make disparaging comments under these circumstances. It's easy for us to sit back in our armchairs as experts and criticize. It's a lot harder getting up in front of a large crowd to show what you can do.

So I start by saying kudos to Yonamine Sensei and to the others who were brave enough to get up in front of a crowd and show their stuff. All of them today are better men than those of us who critique them after the fact.

OK... now let's get down to business. Your questions are both fair and insightful, and I'll address them.

TSDguy wrote:

Is it common practice in Uechi to block kicks with the arm (fully unsupported even!) like at 4:15 on?

Let me start by saying that I too winced when I saw that part of their conditioning routine. I believe we are ultimately on the same page, TSDguy. Nuff said.

Now I will elaborate.

Only a fraction of what you see on that film clip is "standard" Uechi conditioning. The Uechi kotekitae (forearm conditioning) exercise is from 3:08 to 3:25. That is THE only routine that is a universal Uechi Ryu requirement. Everything else is 100% dojo specific. It is taking the principle of pounding on weapons to temper them, and applying that principle elsewhere. Those two gentlemen have their routines; I have my own sets that I've choreographed and I teach.

As a side note, TSDguy, what you see from 3:08 to 3:25 is the second half of the "standard" routine. The first half is "forearm rubbing." It isn't just a warmup to the "forearm pounding". It's also an opportunity to practice many, many subtle principles of posture, centering, sensing, and redirection. It's an opportunity to learn how to deliver energy from the core. It is both yin (on the pull) and yang (on the push). It's a LOT for something that on the surface seems so innocent and simple. But did they do it in this demo? Nope... Why not? You can only reach two conclusions: 1) they haven't a clue how important that half of the exercise is, or 2) it's too nuanced for a "tough guy" demonstration on stage in front of a large audience. I'll be generous and assume the latter. Yonamine and his friends are no dummies.

So... we've already set the stage for this being something other than what one typically would do in the dojo.

Next...

TSDguy wrote:

... to block kicks with the arm ...

Stop right there. These are not "blocks."

I sometimes get a bit irritated in fact with Senior Uechika (TM) who start obsessing over how the kotekitae should be done (as in 3:08 to 3:25). We shouldn't just let the "punch" go out there without "blocking" it so we don't develop bad habits, yada yada yada... Then I see a special on The Discovery Channel with a very old Master Tomoyose Ryuko (an important dude, TSDguy) doing kotekitae with another very old master. And they are doing exactly what has been criticized by others. In fact they are doing exactly what you see from 3:08 to 3:25.

Oops! :oops:

THESE ARE NOT BLOCKS!!!!!

This is all about tempering the Uechi weapons. These are myriad strikes to body parts. In the short sequence of forearm conditioning referenced, the "block-like" motions are NOT blocks; they are strikes - period. In fact... that's a very nice mindset to have about motions we "assume" to be blocks. When you have Naha systems described as go-ju or pangainoon, then maybe half the time they are giving rather than receiving. Sometimes yin is yang, and sometimes yang is yin. That's a fundamental principle of this system.

OK... got that out of my system. I feel better now. 8)

And now I'll contradict myself and agree with you a bit, TSDguy. Why? Because it's fun. :lol: But seriously...

Yes... I agree to an extent with those who say we should be careful not to program bad habits. Yes, TSDguy, I actually accidentally broke someone's forearm who tried a stationary, one-armed low block (gedan barai) on my simple front kick. And here you have someone doing a one-armed technique which - if done correctly - shouldn't be hurting the arm. But it happened. Bummer!

You are right, TSDguy, those guys are repeatedly doing one-armed high and low forearm strikes to high and low roundhouse kicks. Particularly with the low roundhouse kicks, it makes me wince. Yes... I'm with you in that it is potentially developing some bad habits.

For the record, TSDguy, I don't do that and I don't teach that.

TSDguy wrote:

What I don't get is conditioning to drop the arm to get yourself killed.

There are several good alternatives to what you see there, and all would be classic Uechi Ryu with a hidden, nasty offensive component built in. One would be to raise the knee while receiving the roundhouse kick with arm up. The other would be turning the body a bit and getting the other forearm involved in 3 possible combinations - both arms high, or the forearms alternately high/low in either/or combination. Yes... you're less likely to be breaking the forearm doing that, and you're also less likely to be setting up a head shot. But that kind of misses the point, and in many ways we are agreeing here. You're also programming a fit that is one step away from taking the person out.

And the "how" will need to be the subject of another thread.

Your points are well taken, TSDguy. And I hope my discussion shed light on the subject.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Thanks for the explanation. I definitely wasn't ever attempting to mock the guys in the video, they're clearly in great shape and well practiced. But that exercise just makes me worry for their health!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:36 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:

that exercise just makes me worry for their health!

I share that concern.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:08 am 
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:lol: :lol: Bill didn't say it, but I'll bet he twisted his arm a bit while "Blocking" the strike... Atefua is a B#*^&*... :lol: :lol:

Well explained Bill Sama!! I haven't blocked anyones kick since I was a Shodan..TSD guy, no offense taken at all... Just wanted to differ to Bill whether he thought it worthy of public discussion... It's just something that you have to walk into a decent Uechi Dojo and feel... Once you feel it, the theories go out the door..

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:05 am 
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We're all martial artist... I'll share my secrets if you share yours. :D

This is relevant:

Image

NOT photoshopped by the way.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:46 pm 
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That's Cory Hill breaking his leg in that photo.

Cory Hill leg break

The injury is more common than you think. Here's a video from another fight.

Cage fighter gets his leg broke

And yet another...

kick boxing leg break

And yet another (2:36-2:38)...

Leg Break Thai Kickboxing

And there are even more.

Anyone see a pattern here?

Bill Glasheen wrote:

There are several good alternatives to what you see there, and all would be classic Uechi Ryu with a hidden, nasty offensive component built in. One would be to raise the knee while receiving the roundhouse kick with arm up.

Thing is... the "nasty offensive component" isn't even delivered.

As it turns out, the set-up posture itself is plenty strong. For the kicker, the tibia alone receives the first force, whereas for the receiver the tibia and fibula get to share said force. Once the kicker's tibia snaps, the fibula then follows. If you don't understand, watch slow motion videos of a stack of boards being broken.

Anyone who has done enough different kinds of weapon kata and partner exercises understands the problems with hard contact like this. No smart samurai puts his blade square into his opponent's blade. In my days of doing bo-on-bo partner exercises, I lost count of the number of different bo that I shattered. A basic precept of Okinawan kobudo is not to receive another weapon's attack with a orthogonal contact "block", but rather use movement and redirection whenever possible so that your weapon is not receiving the full impact of the attack.

All that said... some of these injuries were probably made easier with over-dieting and over-training. In those cases there may have been preexisting stress fractures before the contact snapped the legs.

IF AND ONLY IF you are training and dieting properly, these kinds of breaks should be made less likely with good Uechi conditioning. Dieting would mean an adequate number of calories along with an adequate amount of calcium, magnesium, D3, and K2 and not a lot of sodas containing phosphate buffer. Training would mean the correct dose of stress on the bones, which leads to bone mineralization. Too little or too much stress on the bones will create problems.

But still... you don't run your new car into a wall to show how well the airbags work.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:56 pm 
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I had the same injury (along with a crushed foot unfortunately) but it took an SUV to do it...need to step up my conditioning :lol:
The breaks these fighters suffered kinda freaks me out 8O . When using our body parts as weapons it may be good advice to ensure we "use the right tool for the job" and evaluate it`s potential to be damaged during use.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:01 am 
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Like a fist to the face. I am still healing going on three months from that. Don't use a fist to the face!


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